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Archive for August, 2009

Solar Squid in Pranburi

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

One of our favorite seafood restaurants in Thailand is found in the coastal town of Pranburi. I always think of Pranburi as “Squid town” because of the presence everywhere of squid and cuttlefish that are laying out on the racks to dry.

Squid drying on a rack

Squid drying on a rack

The restaurant is called Rahn Ahahn Sunni or, Sunni’s Restaurant. To find it, go to Pranburi from the main highway, go to the coastline, and look for the Pandorea Hotel; the restaurant is right across the street. The address for the hotel is 444/4 Moo 2, T.Paknampran, A.Pranburi, Prachubkirikhan 77220, Thailand.

One of the best parts about traveling around Thailand with Kasma is that she has found some of the best restaurants you can imagine. My first trip to Thailand was in 1992 and one of the most memorable meals in a trip full of memorable meals was in a little restaurant in the town of Pranburi along the Gulf Coast of Thailand.

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

Look for this sign

Look for this sign

Seats with a sea view

Seats with a sea view

If you go, be prepared to order in Thai – if nothing else you can order the dishes here for a great meal.

The reason we eat at the restaurant is the extremely fresh seafood, prepared in numerous delectable recipes. It is directly adjacent to the sea and from your tables you can watch the waves go in and out. There’s often a very nice breeze going through the space that keeps you cool as you eat the spicy, delicious seafood.

Solar Squid

Solar Squid

By far my favorite dish at this restaurant it’s what we call Solar Squid; In Thai it’s called Bplah Meuk Daad Diow, which literally means “squid in the sun for a moment.” Actually, the squid is dried in the sun for about half a day, giving it a unique texture and flavor, and is then stir-fried in oil. It’s a seemingly very simple dish but I suspect that there is a lot more to it. One year when we came to town, our favorite restaurant was closed. Well, Kasma still had a group of people to feed so we went to another restaurant down the coast and were delighted to find out that they also had solar squid on the menu. Unfortunately, it was nowhere near as good. When Kasma has asked Sunni, who is the chef, what her secret is, Sunni just laughs and tells Kasma that she’ll just have to keep coming back to get the dish here.

Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp

Baby Clam Salad

Baby Clam Salad

There are several other delicious dishes that Kasma nearly always orders. One of these is simple grilled prawns that are served with three different dipping sauces. Another one is a fiery hot “yum” salad made from baby clams; this dish is called Yum Gkehsawn Hoi in Thai. The dressing is sour and spicy-hot – you can see from all the chillies in the picture that this dish is not for the faint-of-tongue!

Basil Crab

Basil Crab

Three Flavored Fried Fish

Three Flavored Fried Fish

Another “must-have” dish is the Basil Crab – Neua Bpoo Pad Gkaprao. The Thai people will cook almost anything with basil – this dish is made with crab meat removed from the shell, lots of delicious holy basil (gkaprao), and (of course) lots of spicy, hot prik kee noo chillies.

Mixed vegetable Stir-fri

Mixed vegetable Stir-fry

One of the best looking dishes is the “Three-flavored Grouper” – Bplah Gkow Sahm Roht. This dish is not as spicy as the others and is topped by a sauce that is salty, sweet and sour (the three flavors).

Kasma also orders a plate of Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables – Pad Pak Ruam. It’s a non-spicy dish that serves to balance some of the other hot dishes.

So if you’re driving from Bangkok down to the south of Thailand, be sure to make a luncheon detour over to Sunni’s restaurant in Pranburi. You’ll get some of the freshest, most delicious seafood of your life and a dish (Solar Squid) that you may never have again.

Kasma & Sunni

Kasma & Sunni

Two more great southern Thailand restaurants are Ruen Mai in Krabi and Krua Nakhon in Nakhon Si Thammarat. If you’re looking for a good restaurant in Bangkok, check out some of our Favorite Bangkok restaurants.


Written by Michael Babcock, August 2009.